Oil company cuts hit cultural events

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Oil companies have been big sponsors of cultural events in Norway for years, but now several are cutting back or pulling out in the wake of falling oil prices. Sponsorship money has become much harder to get.

State broadcaster NRK reports that several oil industry sponsors have withdrawn funding for the Chamber Music Festival in Stavanger, forcing it to cut staff. Several jazz festivals have also lost support and organizers fear it marks the beginning of tougher times for cultural events that have relied on funding from the oil, gas and offshore supply sector.

Museums including the Nobel Peace Center, the Munch Museum and the Astrup-Fearnley Museum have also received considerable sums of money over the years from the oil industry. The private funding does make them vulnerable during an economic downturn, noted Bente Erichsen, outgoing director at the Nobel Peace Center, which has had long-term support from Norsk Hydro. Erichsen said she’d had no indication Hydro intended to cut back, though.

Terje M Jonassen, communications chief at Shell, told newspaper Aftenposten that low oil prices were “of course affecting company operations,” and that would “have consequences for our sponsor budget.”

newsinenglish.no staff